"Movie Star"





In the next couple of hours there will be a dance with dance.

It was the defining scene image of my life. A defining moment, even. It told me what they were like, and what they were lacking. It was like one big coffee high. It was relentless, shaky, a whole heightened level. At the start of the day each of the four actors were blocked and impotent in one way or another.

It was at a banquet, or a ceremony or a party. I don't know, I couldn't care less, it was just another thing I was dragged to by my parents. It seemed as though every room was full of celebrities and I felt a little dizzy from all the cameras taking their pictures, all the reporters and journalists asking their questions. I should have stayed in the car. I don't feel right in this crowd. It's not for me. Its naked ambition at its worst. It makes me feel sick. Its this mix of modesty and even unawareness about their situation. They conduct themselves without an inkling of ego, or self knowledge. They never lack class. And that makes them unapproachable, unattainable, and always elusive. Everyone's a Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn, a Dorian Gray.
They have that mystery, that lure and allure, they represent the kind of power that Greek Gods exude. And then theirs the charisma. They could seduce a man into jumping off a building with their charisma. Beautiful people should never be powerful people. Everyones talking about ****.
These movie stars and sex symbols and entertainers and personalities, for the rest of the world they are the embodiment of perfect. On the outside they are the perfect beings and on the inside they're even more clean and pure and perfect. The kind of perfect that is forever unattainable to the average Joe. But thats the thing. Thats the mystery of it all. There are things we make up about them and things we just subconsciously make up. That we just assume comes with the job.
My name is Charlie Miller by the way, I'm the son of someone famous, but lets leave it that. Also, I'm fifteen, but I'm not sure if that matters. In a place like this age is a big thing.
I find myself in a vast and suitably grand lobby of some building in Beverly Hills. This is the place where everyone looks nice. You might ask what I see? What I see is lots and lots of paparazzi outside. I see lots and lots of limos of old and young arriving. I see lots of cameras. And lots of people looking at these cameras. I see journalists, and studio heads, and seat fillers. All the glossy crap.

I managed to get away from my parents for a second, I'm trying to find some alcohol, something strong with lots of ice, I soon find myself in an elevator with Tom Crown and his beautiful Czechoslovakian wife, Kami. She was very hot, very sexy. Crown rotates his head, getting out all the travel cricks. I could imagine he just got off a plane or has travelled quite far to get here. And they made a fine item. Crown hits "30" and we all react to the hyper-powered speed with which the elevator rises us to the top. The party's on top. Party's always on top.
As we reach the 30th floor we a tremendous thumping, a strange throbbing noise. As the doors open the noise of bull**** chatter attacks us. Crown allows his wife Kami out first, ever the gentlemen. He stops and listens, he realizes it's time to put on a brave face. It's showtime. I think he hates this glitz and glam as much as I do.
As he leaves the elevator he takes Kami's hand and moves around the edge of the party, grabs the first glass of Mimosa champagne from a tray, sips and scowls. Spotting some beer, he dispenses of the expensive champagne into a lavish potted plant and grabs a beer. People he does not know congratulate and surround him. He smiles along, plays their game. Noticing the ice tray of beer I go in for the kill. Perhaps I can get really drunk and piss off my parents, make a scene or something.
I like Tom Crown, he's laddish. He's never boring. He thrives off adventure.
He's quite down to earth about these kind of occasions, he's that Steve McQueen-kinda movie star who'd rather do a couple of acres on his motorbike than talk to these phonies. He's made sure noone gives him any direct eye contact as his eyes are hidden behind a pair of cheap Ray-Bans. And you can tell he's quite reluctant to take them off. His handshake looks as though it's not quite limp and not quite manly. I suppose he's here for business rather than contacts. You can tell because he only smiles half-smiles.

He's somewhat lost his wife among the crowd and picks a spot by himself, where he's reasonably hidden. His posture hunched, one hands remains on the beer, the other is clasping his left leg, as though he's about to get up any second. Some of the crowd have spotted him and start asking his a great number of silly questions and he answers quite a few with '"Yeah.. Right." and at the end is always "You know."
He's always mumbling quiet and sluggishly reserved, blessed with a somewhat rumbling yet smooth voice. He's shaven, his skin is taut and braced. His smart, black t-shirt and casual jeans are fresh-pressed and cut to fit. He's wiry like how you expect your movie star.
He has an angular rugged face with chiselled cheekbones, luxurious and great hair, flawless tan, and to top it off the most moodiest of faces. His expressions are arresting and medieval, with a curling lip and mocking eyes, the arrogant air of self assurance. Chewing gum, he could swoon any woman with the scowl on his face.
At the end of the you-knows is a blank stillness. I'm expecting him to eye-roll at any second. I notice he's got a band-aid on one of his fingers. I remember he's one of those tough guy actors who always does own stunts. I think he's got this crowd figured out as what it really is. He sinks deep into his chair, stretches a little, looks out into the sun and then turns his eyes towards his shoes, probing for some kind of escape hatch. Tom Crown. The man who can only be invisible living another man's life. Tom Crown. The breadwinner of the family. The one who kept his family together. Tom Crown. Method actor.
I feel bad for the guy and I get another drink.

All the beer is gone, so I look for some champagne. Despite my age, my looks, I seem to be getting away with drinking quite heavily. I can't wait to insult someone.
At the bar I find Brad Cassidy. I'm not sure if I hate him because he gets all the girls, or well, yeah that's probably why. He's the Warren Beatty of our time; a ken doll living life with the volume all the way turned up. So I guess you have to give it to him, old or young, he's done them all. If your a successful actress in Hollywood, you've probably had sex with Brad Cassidy.
Brad Cassidy. The narcissistic, conceited dandy. The Golden Boy.

He slumps at the bar and toys with a cigarette. He's a man who mixes joie de vivre with moviestar confidence. He's got that smooth breeze of aristocratic entitlement and British accent that makes him perfect for bad guys and Shakespeare roles. But he's still got a spikiness. I suppose the spikiness comes from where he came from, who he use to be.
You see movie stars like Brad Cassidy are great actors because they're playing Brad Cassidy. All the time. Inside, he's probably someone self-doubting and simple. But on the outside... When Brad Cassidy enters a room, you can tell he's there. He's so spectacularly good-looking and charismatic that Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp have nothing on this guy. With his rakish smile, bronzed tan, golden locks, beautiful and sensual yet damned countenance. He could be Satan himself. You get the impression he's capable of both strength and cruelty.
The clothes he wear are decadent and make him look latently dangerous and graceful in a lazy way.
. Around him he inspires a mix of envy and awe; his showiness is nothing but a bold statement to the crowd of what he can get away with.
He sits there, drinking the most expensive wife, and he enjoys himself, he's not scared of anyone. Despite all this, he kind of looks jet-lagged rubbing his eyes and scruffy 'bedhead' short hair, ready to sit and chat and work the crowd, talk about the meaning of life.
It's admirable how he works the crowd. He sits there and draws people to him, the mere mention of his name or presence draws the most beautiful of actresses to him. His mouth is pouty, chin is unshaven, his frame is slender and boyish. Yet his eyes shine with a strange and inhuman radiance, they're cerulean blue.
The crowd is all empty air kisses but he loves it. He's worshipped like a God here.
I can't quite knock his talent or skill as an actor as what he's achieved for his age is quite extraordinarily. He's certainly talented, every film I've seen him in he endows his characters with a fire and depth to the most loathsome and evil of characters. In real life he's disarmingly nice, a well-mannered prince who blushes when someone makes a joke. Though, thats just part of the act. So you just have to sit and watch, curious to see when the car will crash and he breaks character.
With all the priviledge and opportunies, all the girls and fame, all the money. Just one hesitation, just one word and the image is gone, he'll no longer be that man and he'll be like everyone else again.
It makes you wonder not if he's happy, but if he can maintain it. And with that, makes you wonder what he's hiding.
Cassidy gets up and strolls languidly about in his jewels and waitcoast, slim-fit suit to a photo opportunity, where you hear the photographer cry out, "And here he is... The Actor-Slash-Rock-Star.. Brad Cassidy."
Brad Cassidy. The man whose always acting. Hollywood's Golden Boy and Hollywood's Black Sheep.
Sitting at the bar, I'm now feeling quite drunk, but not drunk enough. I'm also a little hungry. Maybe for a hamburger or KFC, something greasy and disgusting.

In the photoshoot the biggest crush, the beautiful Daisy Clement. She's the perfect woman. She's the It girl. She lingers in the golden gleam.
She's petite, curvy and tiny-waisted; whistle-thin, she's got the diminutive dimensions of a former ballerina or dancer. And she moves that way too. She apologizes sweetly for not knowing the label of her dress. The dress is scarlett and perfectly complements her copper platform shoes. I've always had a thing for girls who wear red. It turns me into a bull. She seems like someone from the real world and I like that. I like the sincereness in an insincere world. She's so untouched. She has this real particular brand of vulnerability. It's ethereal and angelic. The kind that just elevates her to icon. She's so unknowable and so unattainable. But at the same time she looks so warm. To me she is more icon than flesh. To me she is the embodiment of ideal sex so hopelessly out of my reach that all I can do is yearn and sigh. When I get home I'll masturbate over this moment, and think about what her bush looks like. Turn off all the lights so God won't see me.
Usually her taste is more bohemian than elegant, or elegantly bohemian even. I've seen her in magazines and tabloids before, and she usually has a distinctive and recognisable style and today is no different. I think her dress is soy, or edamame. What ever it is, she looks scrumptiously soft and edible. I wonder what label her underwear is. There's a very intimate connection between a girls sex appeal and a girls fashion appeal. If what you wear looks like, you look nice. I'm sure she'd look nice with nothing on.
She embodies that mythological cinematic quality, the cool blonde from all those Hitchcock films. I look at her and see there's a whole life going on within that gaze. That pretty gaze. Do you remember Garbo? She's got a Greta Garbo face. It's inscrutable, inexplicable. It's remote and glamourous. It's the kind of perfect and classical beauty that breeds obsession. You have no idea what's going on beneath those dimples. I'm hoping its purely sexual. She's Hollywood's sweetheart.
After the photoshoot she curls up on a chair like a cat, making herself teensy in the process. She's independent and fit, I could imagine she would never get fenced in, never succumb to drugs or alcohol or scandal, or any of the things that destroy movie stars.
She has this high, unlined forehead, clear gray-greenish eyes, a rosebud mouth, a beauty-marked chin, with a pool-of-milk complexion blushed a pinkish coluor. She's perfection. And she seems so sincere and so real that I want to get drunk enough to confess my love for her. But I don't. I look at her and imagine she has all this success and admiration and I bet shes above it. Above all the ****.
Daisy Clement. Soon to become Queen of Hollywood and about to sacrifice all her anonymity. The first one of her town to do something and make it big, the first one to strike it big and look golden. The golden girl. The IT Girl.

Next up, all eyes are on Doug Ashby. He's the Orson Welles of the moment. On his arm is his beautiful Hungarian girlfriend, Karla.
This is the most brilliant and talented and versatile young man in film. He's the great hope of modern Hollywood. And I greatly wish he will continue making films that say something, that really mean something. I'm a fan. He's the leading man du jour. The first thing you will notice about Ashby is his complete lack of star quality. He's got alot of screen presence. But star quality is something he does not have. Star quality is very much how much you want to **** an actor or actress. But like what the great Gary Oldman once said, if you an actor is greatly talented, then he's sexy. If an actor is watchable, then he's ****able.
I love the guy. He's got the balls to annoy directors and producers, writers and other actors. But the same time, he's squeaky clean, despite the educated, intense, difficult, pain-in-the-arse reputation. He's one of the most powerful men in showbusiness, and the most unseen and underrated. There's something unshakably aristocratic about him, as if he's been to Harvard or Princeton. There's the hesitant smirk, a very pensive and passive articulacy. He articulates and thinks things through. And you can tell this from just the glint of his eye, the ease of his smile.
He wears this retro 50s grey suit. His fathers suit. Atleast, thats what it looks like. But he looks a little wrong. He neither socialises properly or attracts the spotlight. He truly plays it down. I'm curious to know what a conversation between Tom Crown and himself would look like. I bet they'd be fast friends. Both have tremendous humility, and both are great actors.

In person, he across as boy-next-door handsome, intelligent, sweet-natured and nice. He genuinely listens and makes people feel comfortable in his presence. He's got that throwaway verbal wit and an easy dancer's motion, he's like a latter day Jimmy Stewart. He's the reliable Joe. Thats why people watch his films, he's the everyman. But behind it all. He's the genius. The leading man du jour. I wonder why he's here and he's not somewhere else doing something constructive with his time.
Ashby, the one who is tired of playing the Hollywood game. Doug Ashby. The one whose mother never got to see his success. Doug Ashby. The Renaissance Man.
By now I need to pee so I try to find somewhere to pee. I contemplate pissing in the potted plant. Though, I'd hate for Miss Daisy Clement to see me make a fool of myself. I consider urinating in the elevator. Purely because it would be funny.
As the lifts door slide open, and this tall, shambling figures stepos out to the melee of designer-suited Hollywood phonies.
I think it's a Rolling Stone. But it's Robert Verona. The world's greatest and most reclusive actor. A hybrid of Peter Sellers and Marlon Brando if there ever was one.
. His head down, he looks like a mixture of a gruff proletarian brute and a slightly-distant aristocratic genteel. He's wearing clothes seemingly chosen because they feel nice, because they've lasted long and because maybe they're sentimental. He shuffles with his aged boxer's body.
He's here with his wife, Virginia Paige. A man like this is clever and complex. In every film I've seen him in he's leapt before he looked. Onscreen, he's loved, seduced, fought, rebelled, charmed. To see him now semi-retired with his wife and idealitic life. To see him now having given Hollywood the finger. He's a specimen of maleness, the great unknockable, Zeus if there ever was one.
I think he's about to be interviewed. I get in closer to get a more intimate look. His face is narrow, lean, hungry and uncorrupted by Hollywood's many excesses. He's got a salt and pepper beard so you pay more attention to his dark, deep-set and liquid eyes and thick wispy eyebrows, and they flash wildly when, almost non-regularly, he laughs. When he cares, his eyes are expressive and twinkle madly. His hair is dark and short, and his noble Roman nose dominates the contours of his face.
By the end of the interview I'm astounded by his composure and single-mindedness, his beaming smile and disarmingly warm gestures. The man, who is as intense as De Niro or Brando, who is known as being somewhat withdrawn and elusive talks in measured tones, offering each and every word like a thoughtfully polished diamond. He wears a once-vibrant and lived-in red plaid shirt which contrasts against the drab black and greys of his skinny jeans. He's got a few vivid tattoos down each arm, and the tough clothes he wear give him the appearance of a pantomine bohemian pirate. Robbie Verona. The acting god.

In the flesh he gets comfy in a chair, he appears rough and vagabond, but is actually very courteous and soft. He obscures his extreme good looks as opposed to exploiting them. He doesn't project the magnetism that has come to define and mark his best work.
I look at him now. And he lets all his physicality do all the talking; just one raised eyebrow followed by a coy smile, giving the appearance of sharing a confidence with each and every one of his audience. And then he grows silent, very silent. Perhaps defeated and thinking to himself.
Verona has somewhat stayed one step ahead of the game, having always anticipated change and adapting to it before anyone. He's a chameleon in his personal life and comes across as clever with words.
With lots of great success behind him. I bet he's thinking "Is my best work behind me?" or "Does this old dog have any more tricks?"
Actually, I take that back. He's got more humility than that. I doubt he would give a flying **** about what people would think of him. If I was him. I'd probably be thinking that. I think he's done with movies. Yep, Robert Verona. I'd say he's my favourite actor. The one I'd most miss if he suddenly died.
Robert Verona. Robert Verona who is living in the shadow of his famous father. Fearful of becoming him. Fearful of becoming that ****. I know how that feels. Robert Verona. The artist.
I finally head to a bathroom to throw up. I'm sickened. From all these people I've observed and looked at from afar I feel sickened. I feel their blessing to be more of a curse. I guess all they wanted when they were youngest was to be loved. And now they have it. They get to watched. Because back in the day. No one wanted them. They feared disappointing anyone. They desired to be appreciated. They longed to be liked and sought after. They needed to ne known.
They say the six needs in life are love, security, self esteem, recognition, new experience and creativity. They had it all. And they had none of it.
They're all in trouble. With expectations they can't possibly fill. There's always five or six people better looking. There is always someone else.
This place has a sadistic and cruel and self-orientated ****-you, mad circus quality.

And here it is. This is when the ball starts rolling, when the ride must start now. It was at 20:22, that they all entered the elevator.
Doug Ashby, 20:00, attempted to disappear from the crowd and all the media-hungry whores. He's very regal about his escape.
Brad Cassidy, 19:59, slugs down a few more drink Oliver Reed-style, stumbles through the crowd, ready to meet a woman in his limo.
Tom Crown, 20:21, shying away from the event, ready to meet his wife downstairs, she takes the other elevator.
Daisy Clement, 20:00, ready for some air.
Robbie Verona, 20:22, desires a nice Cuban cigar. Desires a couple minutes to live in his head.
And me. I enter the elevator so I can throw up. I'm standing side by side with five living breathing legends. I dont quite know how to act. I act like I dont know them, like they don't mean anything, like they did nothing or made no impact on my life. I tried to be myself. And here they are... All different parts of the same stick, all beneath the same blanket. They're renaissance artists. Thats what I think they are.
The door closes. And we're all in. Contained. And its strange, odd, weird that they have more in common than originally thought.
We don't hear the crap anymore. Thats it. Whatever is outside is gone and does not matter anymore.
I look around and observe. Every gesture, every body movement, every facial tic betrays what they really feel towards eachother. I look at them all. All at their most candid. They cunningly ignore and neglect eachother. From what I know. I guess they're five strangers in the same profession.
Everyone takes their place. Ashby is in control of the elevator buttons, Robbie Verona is in the back being anonymous and cool, Brad and Daisy get close, Tom Crown quietly slouches in the corner. I look around and these people have never seemed so real, so close and fallible. Things are no longer black or white, but colourful. They're real. For me, it was a moment of pure sugar rush. It was emotional, intimate. I think my life has come to mean something. I believe in these people.
And here we go. The Elevator shuts down. It's neither going up or down. Its in a limbo. It started to move and then it suddenly stopped. All in silence. I dont think they expected this to happen. I suppose they're use to everything working and perfect. I feel so sick now. But here I am amongst living legends with mythic stories.

Its now do I think of a human beings main needs. Lets see - food, oxygen, space and comfort. And peeing. But I guess that comes into comfort. It's now I feel like a hamster in a cage. With these noble people. Who were no longer large than life. They were real as you or me. No longer isolated or workaholic. No longer bold or ambitious. No longer fast or reckless. They were tragic. Thats what they looked like. And we were closed off. It was a moment of closeness. Some were dominant, and some were passive. Their was no deep talk. Their was no talk. But that does not matter. With these guys you can tell what they're saying. There was just intangible closeness. Sharing the same air. They no longer clung to their identities and who they are. They became who they are. All links were erased. It was all about the elevator. And who was in it. They were all insecure and human. It was all hopelessness. It was weird and dream-like and delusional.

And its now we start to hear the chords of the elevator starting to snap... There was no more **** to hide behind. There was no more digressions. This was it. In a moment all the glitz and glamour was stripped away, and I saw everything and who they really were. These are people who approach, pass and turn to look at each other no more. People who will not meet again. Individuals and artists who are in flight from themselves.

Its now that you start to ponder what matters. Be it your career and what you do, your family and parter and who you love, your memories and scars and what you've done, your actions and what your doing. And last but not least, your future and what you will do.
It's now you think. You think about every connection, every purpose, every complexity and disorder. And you wonder have you lived a good life? Does it all matter? I wondered what my last words would be. I was glad I'd die with people I love. Though, at the same time I dont know any of them. I don't know them really.

The moment was brave and bold. Theirs no cure. Theirs no thinking. Everything you own suddenly does not matter. And here we are a small story made big. Makes you think that we're all dying. Do what you need to do. 70% of the time we have no control over the game. The waiting is over. Nothing will stop this from happening. We were fallible. And the chord snapped.